What is the significance of the compression gradient in the treatment of venous insufficiency?

Updated: Oct 22, 2018
  • Author: Robert Weiss, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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The compression gradient is extremely important because nongradient stockings or high-stretch elastic bandages (eg, ACE wraps) may cause a tourniquet effect that can exacerbate the venous insufficiency. The so-called antiembolic stockings that are commonly available in American hospitals do not provide sufficient compression to improve the venous return from the legs, and they are not particularly effective in preventing venous thromboembolism.

No patient with symptoms due to venous insufficiency should be without gradient compression hose, which can be prescribed by any physician. The prescription should specify 1 pair of calf-high (or thigh-high with waist attachment or panty-hose style) compression hose providing a pressure gradient of 30-40 mm Hg, with refills as needed.

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